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In Entertainment
June 11, 2024

Decades before Peter Jackson’s live-action The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Ralph Bakshi rendered the epic in striking animation. (Rotoscope is cool, eh?) Now, a new project from New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. returns J.R.R. Tolkien’s sprawling story to animated form. And this time, they’re going the way of anime. This trip into Middle-earth will be The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, fostered by filmmaker Kenji Kamiyama. And now, we finally have our first-look images which show us what The War of Rohirrim will look like. In addition, the first voice cast for The Lord of the Rings anime has been revealed, alongside more story details, concept art from the film, and the movie’s release date. It has even been announced that the story will be narrated by Éowyn, Shieldmaiden of Rohan.

Here Is Our First Look at the Art of The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim

We finally know what The Lord of the Rings: The War of Rohirrim will look like. Three first-look images of this anime-style The Lord of the Rings movie have been released. In the images, we see main character Héra, antagonist Wulf, and the legendary king of Rohan Helm Hammerhand and his family, Héra, Haleth, and Hama.

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The Lord of the Rings the War of Rohirrim Héra

Warner Bros.

Héra, Helm Hammerhand, Haleth and Hama from The Lord of the Rings the War of Rohirrim anime movie

Warner Bros.

The Lord of the Rings the War of Rohirrim antagonist Wulf

Warner Bros.

The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim Synopsis and Stars

Eowyn reciting her iconic line "I am no man" in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

New Line Cinema

Miranda Otto reprises her role as Éowyn in The War of the Rohirrim. She serves as the movie’s narrator as she tells the tale of Rohan’s history. Alongside Otto, Brian Cox, Gaia Wise, and Luke Pasqualino have been cast as the leads in the Lord of the Rings anime. Cox will voice the protagonist Helm Hammerhand. Wise will voice his daughter Hera. And Pasqualino will voice Wulf, the presumed antagonist.

A press release describes the new film as an exploration of “the untold story behind the fortress of Helm’s Deep.” The material adds that this feature will “delv[e] into the life and bloodsoaked times of one of Middle-earth’s most legendary figures; the mighty King of Rohan – Helm Hammerhand.” And Deadline further shares that this Lord of the Rings anime will take place 183 before the events revealed in The Lord of the Rings movies.

Deadline‘s article also reveals more of The War of the Rohirrim‘s plot. It notes that “A sudden attack by Wulf, a clever and ruthless Dunlending lord seeking vengeance for the death of his father, forces Helm and his people to make a daring last stand in the ancient stronghold of the Hornburg – a mighty fortress that will later come to be known as Helm’s Deep. Finding herself in an increasingly desperate situation, Hera, the daughter of Helm, must summon the will to lead the resistance against a deadly enemy intent on their total destruction.”

More About The Lord of the Rings: The War of Rohirrim

Director Kamiyama shares of this The Lord of the Rings anime movie, “This is the story of the most powerful king in Rohan’s history, someone who defeated his enemies with his bare fists. Why did his lineage have to end with him? I think there is a lesson in hubris there and also for a need for responsibility and awareness in their power. We live in an age where, all over the world, we face the reality of war again. What, then, is power? What is the responsibility of those who possess it? It is something they need to think about by thinking together with those who don’t.”

Of Helm’s daughter Hèra, producer Philippa Boyens notes, “In the appendices where the story is drawn from, we get these quite interestingly drawn male characters, and then we get this young female character who is never named — and that was really interesting to me. We know Helm has a daughter, and we know that she was central to the conflict that happened. But myself, and especially screenwriter Phoebe Gittins, were drawn to her. We could feel the weight of being that unnamed daughter, which immediately piqued our interest: Who was she? How did she live?”

Finally, who is the antagonist of The Lord of the Rings: The War of Rohirrim, Wulf, who is “leading the armies of Dunlendings against Helm’s kingdom.” Boyens shares, “We have an exceptionally great antagonist in this story. He’s been one of my favorite antagonists to have written across all of the films I’ve worked on.”  Wulf is no wizard or powerful being, instead he’s just a human in The Lord of the Rings world. And Boyens reveals, “He speaks so directly to a lot of the crises that we’re facing today. He’s a really fascinating character and exciting too. You don’t know what he’s going to do, and some of the choices that he makes are just breathtaking in a good way.”

Concept Art From The Lord of the Rings Anime Movie

The below concept art by Weta Workshop certainly hints at those blood-soaked times. That Oliphaunt doesn’t look like it’s there for a good cuddle.

Men on the back of an Oliphaunt fight in concept art for The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim

Warner Bros./New Line Cinema/Weta Workshop

Helm, the ninth king of Rohan, was famously defeated—but not killed—at the Crossings of Isen. However, he would survive for just another year, following a lengthy siege alongside his brother. Despite his defeat, Helm maintained a ferocious reputation; he was even thought to live on in some form following official decree of his death. You can check out the rest of The War of the Rohirrim‘s concept art below.

The War of the Rohirrim concept art

Warner Bros./New Line Cinema/Weta Workshop

The War of the Rohirrim concept art 2

Warner Bros./New Line Cinema/Weta Workshop

The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim Director and Other Cast

The War of Rohirrim‘s director, Kamiyama, has been imbuing the anime world with color and story since the 1980s. Among his most noteworthy credits, we find several Ghost in the Shell series, as well as the 2019 Ultraman show.

Additional cast for the movie include Lorraine Ashbourne, Yazdan Qafouri, Benjamin Wainwright, Laurence Ubong Williams, Shaun Dooley, Michael Wildman, Jude Akuwudike, Bilal Hasna, and Janine Duvitski.

Peter Jackson will serve as an executive producer of the film.

The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim Release Date

The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim will debut in theaters on December 13, 2024. At present, Warner Bros. touts Rohirrim as a stand-alone story; as such, we shouldn’t necessarily expect a trilogy born of this project. But given that The Hobbit was originally only supposed to be one film, we might not wish to count anything out, either.

Originally published June 10, 2021 with reporting from M. Arbeiter.

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